Exactly! And said in half the words it took me!
Yep. Nicely put. Anyone who buys into all this 'it's to give smaller countries a chance' propaganda is gullible.
The third place (from qualifying) teams who made it into this tournament were: Turkey, Hungary, Sweden and Ireland. How many of those teams really gave us anything worthwhile to watch? Hungary. (Ireland had a great moment against an Italian side who were already through but their football was ****).
The playoffs for a 16 team tourny would have been Iceland, Wales, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Croatia, Albania. I reckon 4 out of those 8 is fair enough.
There has always been the odd 'small' team. Latvia were in Euro 2004. Northern Ireland, Austria, and maybe Iceland and/or Wales would still have made it this time. There is still plenty of opportunity with 16 teams. Giving the Faroe Islands a free spot to get pumped 10-0 in all the games is a joke.
Wales topped their group and made the semis (and bar the stupid yellow card rule, might have had a sniff of the final). "Smaller countries"??